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Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 12:36 GMT
Osama bin Laden 'cut off'

The Taleban ambassador addressed reporters in Pakistan The Taleban ambassador addressed reporters in Pakistan

Afghanistan's ruling Taleban have said that Saudi militant Osama bin Laden cannot plan any attacks because they have removed his access to telephone and fax machines.

The Taleban ambassador to Pakistan, Sayed Mohammed Haqqani, said the move was taken against Mr Bin Laden because of the concerns of the international community.

Bin Laden doesn't even have an access to a telephone or fax
Sayed Mohammed Haqqani
The ambassador said the Taleban had assured the United States in a letter that Osama bin Laden had no plans to attack Americans.

"Osama, whom America has projected as an important figure, neither has any plans nor can he carry out such plans from Afghan territory against any one," he said.

"He is living as a free person but while under some controls."

US warning

The announcement came a week after the United States warned the Taleban that Washington would hold them responsible for any attack on Americans by Mr bin Laden's followers.

Ambassador Haqqani: America needs to be rational Ambassador Haqqani: America needs to be rational
Last week, the Jordanian authorities arrested 13 people alleged to have links to the Saudi militant and suspected of planning attacks on American targets during millennium celebrations.

Another suspect was extradited to Jordan from Pakistan.

But Mr Haqqani urged Washington to be rational and said the Taleban refused to accept responsibility for attacks against Americans.

"If you really are interested to resolve this issue rationally, then what is the use of force?" he asked.

Washington holds Osama bin Laden responsible for the bombing of two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last year, and has asked the Taleban to hand him over.

But the Taleban, which controls most of Afghanistan, rejected the demand.

It has offered, instead, to try him in a special Islamic court with judges from three Muslim countries, or hand over the case to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

Both offers were turned down by the Americans.

Last month, the United Nations imposed sanctions on Afghanistan for the Taleban's failure to extradite Mr bin Laden

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See also:
15 Dec 99 |  Middle East
Jordan arrests 'Afghan-trained militants'
06 Aug 99 |  South Asia
Osama bin Laden: America's most wanted
15 Dec 99 |  Americas
US warns Taleban over 'terror threat'
12 Nov 99 |  Americas
FBI reorganises to combat terror
09 Oct 99 |  Africa
US embassy bombing suspect in court
14 Dec 99 |  Americas
'Terror threat' triggered US warning

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